Tips for writing a perfect abstract of a conference paper

Academic conferences play a significant role in graduate work. It is an event for researchers to present and discuss their work, crafting a bridge for exchange of information between researchers. But how does a researcher get invited to present their field of research at an academic conference? What makes their work beguiling as well as crisp enough to be chosen for the call? Well, the answer to all is to write and submit an abstract of the research paper. This post will revolve around the finest ways to write a perfect abstract that will help you make your work fit-to-be-seen and praised for.

An abstract is a brief summary of the paper you want to present at the academic conference. The whole work is bundled and potted in an abstract and published as the conference proceedings. The very purpose of an abstract is to review the main points of your paper in such a way to convince conference organizers that your paper has got something important and valuable to add to the conference. Therefore it calls for a to-the-point and clear explanation of the main parts of your research. The general thumb rules to aim for are:

  • Heading should be concise and attention-grabbing. Headings between 30 to 40 characters receive the most citation.
  • Aim for 250-300 words in total, with 20 to 25 words per sentence.
  • Make sure your abstract includes:
  1. Purpose – The abstract need to illustrate the purpose of your work. This is the point which will determine the ticket of your paper in the conference session.
  2. Problem – You need to state the precise problem that you are trying to resolve.
  3. Methods – This includes the approach you took towards solving the problem. You can include how you organized this study and the research that you used.
  4. Results – As a result of completing your study, what did you learn or invent or create?
  5. Conclusions – It includes the larger implication of your anticipated aftermath from your findings.
  • Stick to the word limit and make sure your language and sentence structure are straight forward.
  • Try to summarize your abstract into one sentence. This, in turn, will help you reconstruct the soul of your paper ensuring that you are not including unnecessary information to your submission.
  • Include keyword in your abstract as search engines will use them to locate the paper.
  • End your abstract with implications or recommendations.
  • After you complete your abstract, look it over with a fresh mind. This will help you edit it to improve its effectiveness.


Your abstract is like a business card or ‘elevator pitch’. The main point is to catch the attention of conference organizers. You want to be remembered by the people to whom you offer it. Favorably, if possible.

Conference papers vs journal publications: Which is the better publication route?

In course of their research, academicians often need to interact and exchange views with their colleagues to provide a firmer ground for their inferences. Such meetings help them debate their research topic with other like-minded participants and then assimilate the information that is presented through audio-visual media to produce a more conclusive finding. Therefore, seminars and colloquia are an essential part in the growth of any research. Often the proceedings of such meetings are recorded in the form of a collection of papers that were presented during the event.

On the other hand, a journal publishes research work, either on the web or as printed copies, after a rigorous process of review and a long approval cycle. However, once published in a reputed journal, your paper has an audience that you would otherwise have never had access to.

Why opt for conferences?

Conference proceedings have several advantages for a researcher. This is because conferences:

– Give a platform for interaction among research scholars who share a common interest.

– Have a faster review process and generate a faster feedback.

– Are often characterized by short presentations, so they manage to present the aim of the research clearly without consuming too much time.

– Include discussions sessions, which encourages exchange of views and ideas on the presentations.

– Allow interaction of scholars from all over the world who are engaged in the same or allied research fields.

– Have a predictable and time-bound review time.

– Help the presentations to be properly archived for reference in similar events held elsewhere on related research topics.

– Involve sponsors, who allure researchers with publishing credits and personal and professional benefits for attending the conference.

– Have high visibility and often leave a greater impact on the academic fraternity.

– Mainly focus on recent researches or up-to-date academic endeavors, unlike a journal that often takes a long time to finally publish a research.

Demerits of a conference publication

On the flip side, conferences have the following drawbacks:

– The review process is often superficial or cursory, i.e., there is no second round of reviewing.

– They have a low acceptance rate.

– The feedback from the research fraternity may be lukewarm compared to a publication in a journal.

– Economies of scale work against good quality publications because the publication is one of many expense heads for the organizers. Therefore, the production quality often leaves much to be desired.

Why opt for a journal publication?

A publication in a reputed journal presents the following advantages for the researcher:

– Research papers that are published in journals are thoroughly peer reviewed, including multiple review phases.

– The quality of research published in a journal is of a high standard.

– Journal publications carry deep analysis of a research work.

– Useful feedback is received from the reviewers, which help bring about substantive changes in the paper to improve the research analysis.

– Word and page limits are longer in the case of journals. This gives more scope to the researcher to express his or her thoughts and interpretations.

– A journal gives a chance to authors to revise their work based on the feedback and then re-submit it for further review and publication.

– Conference papers are never considered the ultimate in publishing a research. Often, conference papers can be converted to journal papers and published in reputed journals with a high impact factor.

Demerits of journal publications

There are also few demerits of journal publications. These include:

– The publication process is time-consuming.

– Due to such delays, the research topic might get outdated.

– Selection of journals is a difficult task. Sometimes, a good research is published in a sub-standard journal.

Both these routes to publication have their pros and cons. It must also be noted that conference proceedings and journal publications are not mutually exclusive; a situation may arise where one form of a research work might be published in the conference proceedings and another, perhaps more developed, form might be published in a journal. Therefore, for a more diverse and in-depth research output, both conference proceedings and journal publications need to play a significant part.